The Day the World Turned Purple (and What I Learned from Prince)

April 21, 2016: The day the world turned purple to honor the passing of a music and style icon. The Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Superdome and hundreds of other landmarks and signs were all illuminated in Prince’s signature color: purple.

MIAMI - FEB 4: Prince performs during half-time for Super Bowl XHe was a visionary, a legend, and an influencer. As a child of the 80s and the MTV generation, he was our Elvis and more. He was also a symbol of creativity and thought leadership. Prince was the first artist to release an entire album on the internet in 1997. He was also the artist to battle the record label empire and emancipate himself as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” He was a symbol of change.

Losing an artist is like losing a family member. They were there for you in good times and bad. They spoke words that touched your soul. 2016 has been a tough year for music. (Read Martha’s David Bowie blog here.) As we mourn yet another life that has ended too soon, I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned from Prince.

  • Be fearless – Prince wasn’t afraid to be what he wanted to be. He wore bell bottoms, ruffled shirts and high-heeled boots. He challenged the norm. He pushed the envelope in so many forms of art. The 80s were still early years for expressing yourself with eyeliner and sparkly outfits. He did it bravely.
  • Be yourself – One of Prince’s most famous quotes embodied his belief in being yourself: “Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.” Prince was an original and made no excuses. He let his music speak for him.
  • Embrace change – If something isn’t working for you, make a change. Stand up for what you believe in. I remember the chuckle I got when we all tried to figure out how to pronounce the symbol that replaced his name. He reinvented himself in response to the demands of his record label. Artists didn’t do that back then. Until Prince.
  • Work hard – Prince was undeniably one of the most talented and hard-working artists of all time. In 35 years, he produced 39 albums. He received seven Grammy awards and 30 nominations. He never stopped working. I don’t think you’ll find a person out there that would claim he was lucky or lazy. He was a good example of hard work pays off. His music was his life and his work.

Even if you weren’t a big fan of his music, you surely knew his talent. Rest in peace, Prince. Your light will continue to shine through the music you leave behind. I thank you for that and the lessons you taught me.

Cheryl Farley is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter at @CherylMFarley or connect by email at